This is the second question of the interviews that our participants prepared during the week break in between the two weekend activity “Climate Justice – Just a Game?”.
If you have not read the first part and you want to have a better understanding of this article or know what the interviewees look like and where they are from, you can do so here.
The second question was “Have you ever experiences a lack of climate justice in your country? What was it about?”, thanks to this question we can see how different problem affect different part of the world or, on the opposite side, how people are fighting against the same issues even if thousands of kilometers away from each other.
Interviewer: Sonia Premoli
Interviewee: Livia S.
“Yes. Low-income neighborhoods in the US are hotter than wealthier neighborhoods due to lack of vegetation, more concrete and other factors. Poorer communities are therefore more vulnerable and affected by the rising of temperature. Many people from Guatemala and Honduras are migrating to the U.S. because they have been displaced and lost everything after the terrible hurricanes of last year.”
Interviewer: Selin Ozbek
Interviewee: Hava O.
“Yes. In Ankara, we lived in a period of time where there was no clean air. There was coal pollution in some regions. For example, we can’t even see outside when we look from inside of the buses. We couldn’t breath and we often faced problems accessing water.”
Interviewee: Aayush Verma
Yes. I belong to a country which has the second largest population in the world and fifth largest economy. In terms of carbon dioxide emissions, India is the world’s third largest emitter. The impacts of climate change will be severe for India. Parts of the country are set to become unbearably hot in the coming years. India has an urban population of around 35% and the gap between rich and poor is continuously increasing. Rich people have much better access to resources in India because they can easily pay a price for everything they need and thus, exploit resources more than they require. Poor people are affected the most because of lack of access to resources and affordability. Climate change can be seen in India. There has been an increase in natural calamities and disasters. Some cities are getting hotter and having droughts which is affecting the agricultural sector which feeds 1.4 billion people and employs 60% of the labour force. There is a clear and huge gap between rich and poor in India when it comes to basic facilities, education, income and resources.
Interviewer: Nicolas QUERO-RIO
Interviewee: Maxime QUERO-RIO
Living on the coast, I can see every day the impact of our activity on our direct environment. Erosion, retreat of the coastline is one of them. You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to see that the Pacific islands are not the only ones affected by melting ice and rising seas. Climate justice is not only an issue to protect the poorest populations. It concerns us all, directly.
Interviewer: Nazarena Plumb
Interviewee: Sarah Browne
Yes I have. In Ireland, many young people participated in the Fridays for Future movements but the government was still quite stagnant in making any concrete decisions towards climate change mitigation. Climate Justice is one of the top political concerns for our generation and the strikes made that point clear. In late 2020, new Bills were introduced in favour of Climate Justice so we will have to wait and see whether they are truly enforced.
Interviewer: Mehmet Selcuk Guclu
Interviewee: Tugay K.
Despite the evolving or exacerbated inequality in urban space created by climate change, I believe that most Turkish municipal action plans do not recognize climate change as an issue of injustice.
Interviewer: Marica Farini
Interviewee: Caterina P.
I think that in Italy there is a lack of awareness about climate change because it is a topic of which we don’t talk a lot about. Anyway, in the last few years, thanks to the “Friday for future” movement, a lot of young people have started to take part in climate justice.
Interviewer: Khadija Aliyeva
Interviewee: Ayan Shamchiyeva
The water level in the Kura River, the largest river in Azerbaijan and the country’s primary source of water, has been falling for the last 6-7 years. Most of the water is used for agriculture. In recent years the level of it has dropped very sharply. One reason for the decrease in the water level in the river is water consumption for irrigation for agriculture in the summer. In recent years, cotton has been preferred in agriculture in Azerbaijan, and it is a water-intensive crop.
Secondly, as a result of climate change, the volume of glaciers has decreased, thereby affecting the water level in the Kura River too. 40,000 people in Neftchala face drinking water problems now. The local population and local authorities, and higher authorities were not ready for this problem. Considering the fact that most of the population is low-income families, the fundamental right to have drinkable water is violated now for them. It is again proof that climate justice is about physical matters and the welfare of poor people, and so on.
Interviewer: Karin van Os
Interviewee: Bart-Jaap Schuller
In the Netherlands there were some periods of drought which affected farmers. An important side note though is that this is not purely because of climate change. Especially since the second world war, agriculture in Europe changed drastically (in terms of intensive farming/industrial agriculture) which has made the farmland less resilient. And in fact, this development is actually also one of the causes of climate change. This makes it a complex story. Nonetheless, yes: climate change is affecting Dutch farmers.
Interviewer: Jannis Gustke
Interviewee: Michael Krauß
Germany has the largest co2 emissions per person in the EU and is still one of the largest co2 emitters in the world. Although emissions have been significantly reduced in the last years, coal is still being converted into electricity.
Interviewer: Iringo Csakany
Interviewee: Emoke Szakady
Yes. Actually there is a huge gap between the climate justice policy and action of this country. Switzerland, being one of the wealthiest countries, could do more to support those most affected, at an international level. Climate change has gone way beyond the point for us to be able to tackle on a national level. So countries like Switzerland, should pick up a larder part of the financing, since they can, in order to be able to stop the process or at least slow it down.
Interviewer: Ilze More
Interviewee: Linda Ulāne
Tough one. Firstly, I can still say- many people are unaware of the terrible results of climate changes because in Latvia they are not as obvious as in the south. Yes, we have more storms, less snow, more extreme temperatures, new species, some species disappearing. But still, if you are not directly involved in some related field of work, it’s hard to notice. Therefore I would say – no, I haven’t experienced it.
Interviewer: Vanessa Quintal
Interviewee: Caroline Gouveia
Definitely. Deforestation in particular has been a tremendous issue in Portugal for the last decades. Mainly due to capitalist and corporate interests seeking profit and economic wealth, the forests and the natural resources in Portugal are scarce especially in the areas occupied by the “lower classes”, the elderly, the unemployed or wrongly called “less-advantaged”.
Interviewer: Francesco Mangiarini
Interviewee: Juan Antonio Pérez López
Yes. I can mention one in my region, Murcia, which is located in the South-East of Spain next to the Mediterranean sea. We are home to the largest saltwater coastal lagoon in Europe. In the ‘60s and ‘70s there was a boom in the sun and beach tourism in the area, which provoked huge impacts to the lagoon. In addition, this landmark has been receiving a lot of nutrients from the intensive agricultural practices in the area, which provoked a phenomenon of eutrophication that has ended with 80% of the flora and fauna of the lagoon, turning it from a sort of paradise to a highly degraded environment. This is an example of climate injustice because of the continuous ignoring by the authorities to the calls of citizens and environmentalist groups.
Interviewer: Davit Todatze
Interviewee: Nino D.
In Georgia, one of the most significant concerns in terms of climate change, is air pollution, especially in highly populated areas. The residents of these parts, especially some sensitive groups, like children, people with respiratory diseases, experience health worsening and are negatively affected due to poor air quality.
Interviewer: Davide Viale
Interviewee: Sandra Rossi
Yes. It was a big storm and flood that destroyed a lot of houses and roads because the level of water in the rivers increased a lot.
Interviewee: Simone Lassauw
Recently, the WWF reported that The Netherlands is a huge contributor to global deforestation (top 5 EU countries) and one of the largest EU importers of soybeans. There is a lack of strict legislation and policies to control this. The government needs to take more action to implement strict legislation and take responsibility. Not only to this example, but as well to other problems related to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. In March this and last year, there were climate marches in The Netherlands to raise awareness of the climate crisis and injustice.
Interviewer: Angelica Kern
Interviewee: Daniela Nietsch
I think greenwashing is something along those lines, isn’t it? I mean Austrian companies that export trash that can’t be recycled here and would be very expensive to store in landfills and still advertise this as a green alternative.
Interviewer: Ana Maria
Interviewee: Minke S.
Recently there have been a bunch of international law suits against the Dutch government and other Dutch corporations(Shell) as they did not respect the international agreements on climate change with regard to reducing emissions. I feel like these actors are committing injustices not only towards future generations, but also not taking their share of responsibility towards the global community. Simultaneously the government is not taking responsibility for the country’s identity (wealthy/colonial past) and disrespecting other nations but not respecting common agreements.
Interviewer: Ana Belen
Interviewee: Alejandra Reyes
No, not me directly, but there are cases in Colombia like the one in the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta (Swamp on the North Coast of Colombia). What happened is that a road was built between the swamp and Barranquilla (the nearest biggest city) to facilitate trade. This road obstructed the salt water inlet and the swamp began to decay, causing the water balance to change and thus the death of fish and mangroves. Fishing families lost their source of food and employment. This, along with deforestation for cattle farming, is a major problem. Even though this is a protected area, there is no control and, unfortunately, corruption allows the problem to continue to escalate, the local communities and the environment are the most affected ones.